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by 07.07.2011
Posted In: News, LGBT Issues, Protests, Religion, Human Rights at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Westboro Comes to Town

A small group of protestors from the controversial “God hates fags” church in Kansas marched outside downtown's Duke Energy Convention Center this morning to oppose another religious group holding its nationwide meeting there.

The group from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., picketed the North American Christian Convention, the annual meeting of churches, colleges, institutions and missions programs associated with the Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ organization. About 10,000 people are expected to attend.

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by Will Kohler 10.09.2009
Posted In: Media, LGBT Issues, Republicans at 01:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Six Degrees of Joe McCarthy

If you thought the McCarthy era witch hunts were over, you are sadly mistaken. Welcome back to 1950!

After TV host Glenn Beck’s attack on Van Jones resulted in Jones resigning from the Obama administration, it seems to be open season and now Fox News -- the “fair and balanced” news channel with a political agenda -- kicked its game up a notch this week in its attempts to discredit and destroy more of President Barack Obama’s advisers.

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by German Lopez 04.03.2013
Posted In: News, LGBT Issues at 02:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

City-Funded Parades Must Obey Anti-Discrimination Policies

City Council passes motion after St. Patrick's Day Parade controversy

City Council today unanimously passed a motion that will require parades funded by the city to adhere to the city's anti-discrimination policies, marking the end of an effort that began when the Cincinnati St. Patrick's Day Parade barred an LGBT group from participating.

The motion, which was championed by Councilman Chris Seelbach, requires any future parade that receives funding from the city to respect the city's protected class rules, which prevent discrimination against people of color, women and LGBT individuals.

Council members cautioned that the measure won’t require event hosts to invite fringe groups, but it will make it so LGBT individuals, people of color and women are allowed to participate in future events.

The motion was passed in response to a controversy that began when the St. Patrick's Day Parade prevented the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) from participating. Seelbach, the first openly gay council member, told CityBeat that Chris Schulte and other parade organizers excluded GLSEN because they didn't want the holiday event, which has Catholic roots, to be affiliated with members of the gay and lesbian community. 

Schulte later sent out a press release claiming the parade's rules do not allow for the advancement of "any political party, social movement or cause," even though the parade allows politicians and other political groups to march.

In response to the controversy, Seelbach and other council members boycotted the parade. Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan was the only Democratic council member to participate, but she protested the parade's decision by walking alongside a banner in support of marriage equality.

The parade controversy was also picked up by national news outlets, including Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post.

by 05.15.2009
Posted In: News, LGBT Issues at 02:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Politics, Sex and the Closet

There’s a lot of buzz among political junkies about Outrage, the new documentary by filmmaker Kirby Dick that premiered across the nation last week. The film explores the prevalence of politicians who remain closeted about their sexuality and whether their choice harms the LGBT community.

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by Julianne Warren-Novick 02.04.2010
Posted In: LGBT Issues, President Obama, Human Rights at 04:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Don't Ask When. Tell Them Now!

On Jan. 27, President Obama gave his State of the Union Address and reminded the nation of what his administration was fighting for. Among his many promises to strengthen the economy and tighten security measures against terrorism, was an effort to work with Congress and the military over the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a law that currently bars openly gay men and women from serving in the military.

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by Hannah McCartney 05.22.2012
Posted In: Education, LGBT Issues, Equality, News, Courts at 02:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge Rules 'Jesus is Not a Homophobe' T-shirt Permissible

Federal court orders district to pay $20,000 in damages and costs for banning teen's shirt

A federal court judge in Cincinnati ruled Monday that gay Ohio student Maverick Couch will be permitted to wear his "Jesus Is Not A Homophobe" T-shirt to school whenever he pleases.

Wayne Local School District, the district in which Couch attends high school, will also be required to pay Couch $20,000 in damages and court costs, according to Judge Michael Barrett's ruling.

Couch was first prevented from wearing the T-shirt in April 2011, when he showed up to school in the shirt during a "Day of Silence," meant to raise awareness of cases in which gay students are victims of bullying. Waynesville High School Principal Randy Gebhardt allegedly told Couch that he needed to either wear the T-shirt inside out or remove it, stating that the "T-shirt had to do with religion, religion and state have to be separate," and the T-shirt was "disrupting the educational process."

Couch complied, and was asked to remove the shirt when he wore it to school a second time. Principal Gebhardt threatened to suspend Couch if the shirt was worn again.

Couch and Lambda Legal Defense, a legal organization focused on protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community, brought forth a lawsuit against Wayne Local School District on April 3, 2012, alleging that Couch's first amendment rights had been egregiously violated in barring him from wearing the shirt. Only a day after the lawsuit was filed, administrators at Waynesville High School told Couch he'd be allowed to wear the T-shirt annually on one day exclusively: "Day of Silence," which took place April 20.

"I just wanted to wear my shirt. The shirt is a statement of pride, and I hope other students like me know that they can be proud, too," said Couch, according to lamdalegal.org.

When Lambda Legal sent a letter inquiring about Couch's First Amendment rights to the school district, this was the district's response: "the message communicated by the student's T-shirt was sexual in nature and therefore indecent and inappropriate in the school."

For information about LGBTQ students' rights in schools, click here.

by Danny Cross 03.15.2013
rob portman

Rob Portman Doesn’t Think Gayness Is Gross Anymore

Senator announces support for gay marriage two years after son comes out

Terrace Park isn’t the likeliest of neighborhoods for Cincinnatians to mingle with diverse groups of people, so it wouldn’t be that surprising if Sen. Rob Portman maybe didn’t have much experience interacting with gay people before his son came out two years ago.

But boy what a difference a gay son and two years of reflection make.

Portman had to prepare his own coming out speech yesterday, this one to his GOP senatorial brothers and sisters, none of which support same-sex marriage. Imagine how nervous he must have been, sleeves rolled up, flag pin hanging slightly askew as he spoke to reporters in response to the op-ed he published supporting gay marriage. If he stuttered at all it’s not because he wasn’t earnest — he just really loves his son.

Two years ago Portman’s son, Will, was a freshman at Yale when he came home and explained that being gay “was not a choice,” which seems to have resonated with Dad. Portman consulted with religious leaders and other men who have been anti-gay even though they have close family members who are homosexual, like former Vice President Dick Cheney, who probably said something like, “Dude, it doesn’t matter anymore now that Obama is talking about queers in the State of the Union and shit. Roll Tide.”

Portman explained his new found interest in respecting millions of fellow humans this way: "[I want] him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have — to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years.”

Portman says he would like to see congress overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, a redundant and discriminatory piece of legislation banning federal recognition of gay marriage, which he helped pass in 1996. But he still doesn’t think the federal government should tread on the states and make them recognize it if they don’t want to.

Meanwhile, in Washington Harbor, Md., Republicans at the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday discussed their bigotry during a panel called "A Rainbow on the Right: Growing the Coalition." The featured speaker was Jimmy LaSalvia, whose Republican gay-rights organization GOProud wasn’t allowed to sponsor the conference.

While gay-rights leaders celebrate the support and the possibility of other powerful Republicans realizing that they know and care about someone who is different, the announcement brings attention to other conservatives trying to remove yuckiness from the party’s official stance on homosexuality and gay marriage.

NBC News today recapped a few other Republicans who have recently come out in support of gay-marriage:

Jon Huntsman, a GOP presidential candidate in 2012 who had endorsed civil unions, said this year that he supports marriage rights. Furthermore, he framed it in conservative terms. 

"There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love," he wrote. 

And Theodore Olson, a former solicitor general for President George W. Bush, has been one of the lead attorneys challenging California's Proposition 8, a ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage in that state. (Portman fretted in his op-ed that a court decision might hamper the political movement toward legalizing gay and lesbian weddings.) 

And Fred Malek, a Republican power-broker, told NBC News this week that conservatives shouldn't feel threatened by gays and lesbian couples who wish to marry.

"I've always felt that marriage is between a man and a woman, but other people don't agree with that," he said. "People should be able to live their lives the way they choose. And it's not going to threaten our overall value system or our country to allow gays to marry, if that's what they want to do."

Nearly a quarter of Republicans reportedly support same-sex rights, leaving the door open for plenty more GOP leaders to search for gay family members on Facebook who might offer insight inspirational enough to frame their own stories of new found compassion and respect for other people.

by German Lopez 08.01.2012
Posted In: News, LGBT Issues at 02:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ohio Could Profit From Same-Sex Marriage

Study: Marriage equality could lead to $100-$126 million in economic growth

A new study has indicated that legalizing same-sex marriage in Ohio could lead to big economic growth in the state. The study — conducted by Bill LaFayette, founder of Regionomics, LLC — found that Ohio’s gross domestic product (GDP), which measures economic worth, would go up by $100-$126 million within three years of same-sex marriage legalization.

The study also found that the state would sustain 740 to 930 jobs within the first year of legalization, 250 to 310 jobs within the second year and 170 to 210 jobs within the third year.

In Hamilton County, legalizing same-sex marriage would produce $8.2 million in growth, according to the study.

The study found its numbers by looking at the amount of same-sex couples in Ohio and seeing how many would marry, which would lead to using paid marriage services. The study found that there are 19,685 same-sex couples in Ohio, and 9,863 of those couples would marry within three years. In Hamilton County, there are 1,798 same-sex couples, and 899 would marry within three years.

However, since the study only looked at same-sex couples within the state, it did not account for what has been dubbed "marriage tourism." It is possible that same-sex couples from adjacent states could come to Ohio to get married, and that would lead to even more economic growth in the state.

The study is being used by Freedom to Marry Ohio, a pro-same-sex marriage organization, to push the Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment in Ohio. The amendment, if put on a ballot and approved by voters, would legalize same-sex marriage, as well as give religious institutions the ability to refuse any marriages.

Dennis Willard, spokesperson for Freedom to Marry Ohio, says the organization’s goal is to have the amendment on the ballot “as soon as November 2013.” However, Willard says the organization would not stop promoting same-sex marriage until the ballot initiative passed and it intends to “educate the public” on why same-sex marriage would be beneficial to Ohio.

Willard says LaFayette’s study is part of that education, which the organization will use to build support for same-sex marriage.

“From an economic perspective, it (same-sex marriage) just makes sense,” he says. Willard hopes Ohioans can come to understand that as well.

Last week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the economic argument for same-sex marriage when he announced it had produced $259 million in economic growth for his city in just one year.

An interactive Ohio map showing the results of LaFayette's study is available here.
by Julianne Warren-Novick 02.18.2010
Posted In: LGBT Issues, News, Government, Congress, Human Rights at 05:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Cheney OPPOSES Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Hold onto your hats, kiddies! Those trying to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” have a new supporter on their side. And it’s not at all who you would expect.

It’s former Vice President Dick Cheney! That’s right, the Dick Cheney. In a shocking twist on the debate of whether or not gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military, Dick Cheney came out on Sunday with an answer more surprising than a gunshot to the face.

He said yes!

His direct quote as seen on ABC’s This Week in regards to whether it was time to let gays and lesbians serve openly in the military is as follows, “Well, I think the society has moved on. I think it’s partly a generational question. I say I’m reluctant to second-guess the military in this regard because they’re the ones who have got to make the judgment about how these policies affect the military capability of our, of our units. And that first requirement that you have to look at all the time is whether they’re still capable of achieving their mission and does the policy change i.e. putting gays in the force, affect their ability to perform their mission. When the chiefs come forward and say we think we can do it, then it strikes me that it’s time to reconsider the policy. And I think Admiral Mullen’s said that.”

Now while this doesn’t exactly mean Cheney will be out there with his daughter in June wearing his Pride shirt through Northside, it is a surprising glimmer of hope from a very unlikely source. Considering his opposition just last year to a federal amendment to allow gay marriage, rather than going with state by state decision, his position on DADT seems a fraction bolder than the Cheney we are used to. But then again, we have heard this sort of vague support of what our military leaders deem the right course of action before.

On October 18, 2006, Senator John McCain appeared on MSNBC and was quoted as saying that if the military’s leadership thought it time to change the current policy, then he would have to “consider seriously changing it.” Not exactly a strong stance on the issue one way or the other, but significantly different to his current position. For despite Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen’s support of the repeal, stating in his testimony to Congress on February 2 of this year that, “allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do,” John McCain stands in firm opposition.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been an imperfect, but effective policy,” McCain said to Congress, in response to the efforts to repeal. “And at this moment, when we’re asking more of our military than at any time in recent memory, we should not repeal this law.” Hmm… Funny McCain should bring up memory, since his seems to have a three year expiration.

Whether or not Cheney will offer any real support to the issue of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” that remains to be seen. But for now, he has earned himself a slightly more progressive title than Senator John McCain. That’s kind of like cringing a little less than the guy he’s watching Brokeback Mountain with. But hey, it’s one more “in favor” than we had before.

by 04.17.2011

Seelbach Gets Nat'l Endorsement

Chris Seelbach, a first-time candidate for Cincinnati City Council, has won an endorsement from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a national group that could provide a boost in campaign fundraising.

Founded in 1991, the Victory Fund  provides strategic, technical and financial support to openly gay and lesbian candidates across the United States, helping them win elections at local, state and federal levels. Most recently, the organization helped elect Mayor Anise Parker of Houston, Texas, the fourth-largest city in the nation.

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